Treating Multiple Myeloma

More Options, Better Outcomes

Standard of Care

The Lymphoma and Myeloma team at Roswell Park follows the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. These guidelines are internationally recognized standards for treating cancer patients, and the most comprehensive, most frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine.

Treatment for multiple myeloma can include active surveillance (also called watchful waiting) for smoldering myeloma; chemotherapy; radiation therapy; blood and marrow transplant; or often a combination of methods. Radiation therapy is also used to treat painful bone disease.

The choice of treatment depends mainly on how advanced the disease is and whether you have symptoms. If you have multiple myeloma without symptoms, you may not need cancer treatment right away. In that case, you may have what is called smoldering myeloma, and your doctor will monitor your health closely (active surveillance) so treatment can start if you do begin to have symptoms.

If you already have symptoms (CRAB criteria) you will likely receive induction therapy, which uses chemotherapy to cause remission, reducing or completely eliminating the cancer cells in your body. Sometimes a blood or marrow transplant is part of the treatment plan.

Because standard treatments do not always control the cancer, eligible multiple myeloma patients should consider the option of enrolling in a clinical research study of promising new treatments that are not widely available.

Watchful Waiting

Patients with smoldering multiple myeloma who have no symptoms, or very mild symptoms, may be able to delay the start of cancer treatment for a while. By delaying treatment, you can avoid treatment side effects until you experience symptoms. If you and your doctor agree that active surveillance is a good idea, you will have frequent checkups.